Saturday, October 31, 2009

Congratulations NEDL

Last night saw the end of a very pleasant few days spent with our daughter, son-in-law and grand-daughters. Despite having to fit in visiting mothers/grandmothers/great-grandmothers in care home and hospital we managed to spend time sight seeing in Whitby, shopping in Newcastle, eating out and lots more. A thoroughly enjoyable time which always makes the council blackberry seem much less interesting or important than usual.
We saw them off on their journey home and went to visit said elderly relatives - no problems, just an hour catching up on what they'd been doing and making sure that all was well. Homeward bound there was the prospect of a quiet second half to the evening, perhaps a glass of something soothing, perhaps a good book or a dvd to watch. How wrong could we be? We were greeted by our neighbour walking along the road checking to see whose lights were still on as theirs had gone off then come on again at much reduced power. No streetlight on the corner - we opened our door to find that we had the same problem. No freezer, no fridge, no oven, no lights (low energy bulbs didn't cope with reduced power). A call to our supplier produced advice to turn off all appliances "just in case" and to wait for the arrival of "someone". In 30 minutes or so he was at the door and soon produced the news that the supply was dangerous and should be turned off completely. Whoopee! Candles aren't that good for reading by and don't really keep you warm. Laptops only work for a short time on their batteries especially if, like mine, it was almost run down anyway. Modem and phone didn't work so no internet anyway. The dark ages descended and my warm bed called, especially as I was starting with a cold.
This morning we had a full crew out before 9, tests done, road digger called out and a temporary supply rigged up for us using another neighbour's connection. By 2pm all was fixed and the only evidence of a problem is the deep hole immediately outside our neighbour's house and the fact that our fridge, which was living on borrowed time, has given up and refused to come back on. It's defrosting itself quite well at the moment and I'm about to look at nice new ones.
So well done NEDL for a prompt service. Now we look forward to the hole being filled up and the pavement reinstated.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

So far this week I've had an update meeting with the Corporate Director of Neighbourhood Services who's now been in post a couple of months and describes himself as being in sponge mode at present - soaking up all the information he can on what's happening in the area. He had some interesting and hopeful updates on such things as the regeneration of our town centres and was keen to hear from me about Fairtrade in the Borough. So nothing unexpected in the first such meeting but also nothing to make me think that we'd made the wrong appointment.
Today was the first meeting of the Fairtrade Borough Partnership since the awards ceremony in London. Early plans discussed for Fairtrade Fortnight - with a main focus on tea it will be very different to the banana events this year.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


The clocks went back last night/this morning and the usual bleating is heard from those, usually resident in the south of these isles, who want us to stick with BST all the year round. Why, I ask myself? Why do we have BST at all these days? How many farmers and labourers need that extra hour in the summer evenings to gather in the harvest or get home from work? Here in the North East of England we have few farmers cutting hay by hand or digging up potatoes with spades. Mechanisation is the name of the game. At this time of year, just when the mornings are getting depressingly dark, we have the joy of rising again to bright daylight for a few more weeks. Whoopee I say! Evenings are when it should be dark and we can sit indoors in the warmth and enoy those activities that seem right for winter evenings.
I am old enough to remember the experiment in the 60s with keeping BST all year. Setting off for college in the dark, watching the sunrise glow still in the sky during first lecture of the day, then going home in the dark at the end of the day - no fun at all. It might work further south where the hours of daylight are a little longer, but not here.
Meanwhile, we're still harvesting the last of the tomatoes - I don't know if that's a sign of climate change or not as I didn't make a note of the last harvest in recent years. It just feels later than usual.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The News, A Fortnight Late

Yesterday's Hartlepool Mail finally printed the story of our Fairtrade Fortnight award. It doesn't matter that it's late of course - the important thing is to keep the Fairtrade message in the public eye.
To that end I've just spent an hour working on our Partnership website as another little item in the campaign armoury. Also it made for a nice break from sorting out what is allowed to go back into our nicely floored out and clean loft. It's still not finished of course but the next couple of charity bags to drop through the letterbox will easily be filled.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bede 6th Form College

Tonight I had an opportunity to tour the new college, just over a month since it opened. It was fascinating to see what has been created - a stunning new building with a great deal of thought given to maintaining what was good about the old one (a feeling of being full of busy students, a sense of a small college where people know each other) while introducing state of the art facilities and exciting interesting teaching spaces. There are lots of features which will help to keep the energy used in the building down to a minimum - solar panels to pre-warm water before it's heated, natural ventilation in all the classrooms, motion sensor light switches in classrooms, automatic shut-down of computers when the building closes for the night, clever use of the thermal properties of the building materials to help maintain a pleasant working temperature and so on.
It was good to hear that they now have concerns that the A level chemistry course might be over-subscribed next year, that physics is still popular along with geography and biology. The newer courses in media related studies, film, photography, music technology and so on certainly have some wonderful equipment and all the staff we met are wonderfully enthusiastic.
Stockton Council's head of regeneration was certainly impressed with the possibilities there and had only one regret - that it isn't right in the town centre, helping to build up the footfall there!
I could only marvel at the contrast between the new building and the old Stephenson Hall which previously occupied the site and in which I started my teaching career all those years ago.

Secret State Setback

Just caught up on the rest of yesterdays news and realised that the much-needed Liberal Democrat amendment to the Coroners Bill was passed in the Lords last night. It shows how important it is to have an independent second chamber, one that looks carefully at the small print of proposed legislation and does something to correct the sneaky things that this Government tries. A clause to give the right to a government minister to stop an inquest (in public) and replace it with an inquiry (in secret) if there is sensitive information involved sounds as though it's straight from Orwell or worse. But no, this is a serious attempt by a political party in this country to hide the facts if they might damage the reputation of a public body like the police or nhs.
The government's response? "We'll take it back to the Commons" where of course the backbenchers elected as lobby fodder by our First Past the Post unfair voting system will push it through. Another nail in the coffin of transparent public service.
My father was so proud of the Labour party when I was growing up. It was the party of working people, standing up for them against the Tory Tyrants. I'm glad he's not here to see it now, rushing to outdo the Tories in how reactionary it can be.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Carbon Reduction on track in Stockton

At full council tonight the Tory Cabinet member had put a motion on the agenda supporting the 10:10 campaign. Sadly, she'd forgotten to arrange for someone to second it. We'd already decided that I was speaking on the motion and that we of course would support it. After all, all the Lib Dem group are already signed up to the campaign along with other members of the party all over the country. That gave me the chance to second the motion and to thank her for saving me the effort of writing it!
We knew that the result of the Parliamentary debate on the same subject was due at about 7.15 so Denis was primed to watch the BBC Parliament channel and send us the result as soon as he saw it. In plenty of time before my speech the disgraceful result came through - a Labour majority of 70 saw off a motion in support of something their very own Milliband had supported at its launch. Fine words not worth the paper they were written on when it came to the crunch.
I did get a certain amount of pleasure in announcing the result during our council debate and seeing those Labour councillors who know something about climate change (not many of them it seems) look suitably embarrassed.
Stockton's motion was carried and so the council is now committed to signing up as individuals and to encouraging businesses and our communities to do the same.
First steps are being taken and more will happen as the year progresses. Stockton Lib Dems are having a competition to see who can cut their emissions the most during the year - watch this space!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Democracy in practice

At tonight's ward surgery we had 3 young people, accompanied by a youth worker, who came to find out just what goes on. I'd warned them that sometimes we don't have anyone come to the surgery and then we use it as a time to catch up on information we need to share and decisions we need to take. Tonight started like that, and the young people sat with us while we debated how to move on after our consultation on possible parking bays on Cedar Crescent. We concluded that we need some further information from Stockton Council's enginneers. The young people decided that we had done the right thing in consulting and then taking action on what we'd heard.
One resident who did venture in through the rain tonight was more than happy to have the young people sit in on her discussion with us. The state of the surface on a footpath near her house was the main concern. John was able to explain something of how the repairs and resurfacing of footways and highways is prioritised and we promised that we'd find out where in the hierarchy that particular footway sits at the moment. Sadly, many of the tarmac footways in Eaglescliffe were constructed at around the same time and are now all showing their age but the budget won't allow resurfacing of them all at once so the area is going to look a bit tired and shabby.
There won't be any increase in our budget from central government while the Brown-Darling gang are borrowing record high amounts. How can any country claim to be an advanced economy when it's running on borrowed funds? How can it be reasonable to borrow nearly 60% of our Gross Domestic Product? And now it's not them who'll suffer the consequence but every child growing up in Britain today who won't have quite as good an environment as they could have had if the people in charge hadn't let them down.

Monday, October 19, 2009

General Election Count

After consultation with councillors and likely candidates the decision has been taken to count the votes immediately after the polls close on whichever Thursday is chosen by Gordon Brown. There had been a suggestion to count on Friday morning with some good arguments on both sides.
The huge number of postal votes now used and the fact that people can still take their postal vote to the ballot box at a polling station means that the final verification of the postal votes can't happen until after the polls close. The verification requires special equipment and it all has to be set up somewhere. There are fewer people now willing to be trained to work at the count and at all the jobs which need doing during polling day, so some people have to both work at a polling station and then at the count. That doesn't make for accurate counting which will be important if the result is a close one. Logic then seems to favour Friday, especially if lots of other places are doing it on the Friday.
BUT there's a magic about the count on the night after a hard day trying to get every single supporter out to vote. I remember waiting with bated breath outside Stockton Town Hall for the announcement of the result in the sixties and the disappointment that my favourite hadn't won, even before I could vote. Even now, when the count is so much bigger and takes so much longer there's something about going home after the campaign, freshening up and heading off to see the result unfold before our eyes.
So, I'm sympathetic to the people who have the difficult job of finding the staff to operate what could easily be a 20 hour day, especially if Stockton South ends up being a close call. I hope that they can find enough volunteers to make it a good experience for all. And I hope that those with postal votes have pity on the workforce and post them in plenty of time!
But I look forward to seeing the results unfold. I just hope the phone doesn't ring at 8 on the morning just after I've gone to sleep!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

As always on the Sunday morning after Yarm Fair I was impressed by the speed with which the rides are packed up to travel off to the next venue. Huge amounts of steel and other materials are packed into small spaces and trundle off. I'd hate to pay the fuel bill for some of those juggernauts! Already Care For Your Area staff were cleaning up behind them and Yarm High Street was beginning to return to normal. It's disruptive but it's a long standing tradition and I for one don't want it to die out. I know that many residents feel the same though some understandably would like it to move elsewhere.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Be a Councillor, part 2

The second session of "Be a Councillor" was this morning at the Town Hall. Amazingly, one person had not previously realised that the building is the Town Hall! It's common to have people who've never been inside the building because it never used to be opened to the public except for special occasions. But to meet someone who's lived in the borough for many years and didn't know what the building is - that shows how far we have to go in opening up the council, its buildings and its procedures to the residents of the borough.
Apart from that the morning went much as expected with a handful of people genuinely interested in what was being said, though some admitted they just wanted to know more about the council and how it works but not to be a councillor.
Going in to Stockton on the bus proved to be an unrealised hope. I'd thought that at 9 in the morning Yarm Fair wouldn't have a significant effect but something did. After waiting 15 minutes for a service that runs every 10 minutes I began to think I was going to have to go home and get the car when a neighbour pulled up and offered a lift. So I arrived at the town hall bang on 9.30, carbon footprint strategy intact.
Nice fresh veg bought from the market and home on the bus for lunch.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Catching up

Yet again I had cause to be glad to be part of such a supportive group this week. I don't know what the lurgi was that struck me down but spending 2 days in bed while others stepped into the breach at an hour's notice makes me really appreciate the team.
This morning I was fit to go to Newcastle to the regional Fairtrade forum which was inspiring, despite arriving a little late. You'd think I'd remember about temporary traffic lights in my own ward wouldn't you!
Fledgling plans for next Fairtrade Fortnight were soon in place and we all left with a number of ideas to share with our own steering groups and partnerships and discuss further before the next regional forum in November. Well worth the trip to Newcastle, though I confess that I couldn't face the early start needed to do the journey by train.
Sadly, the uplift was punctured slightly by a series of emails about the review of carbon management which I thought was completed. It seems that some people don't like our recommendations and there could be some argument next week.
However, that was countered to some extent by the news that Dave Hodgson was elected mayor of Bedford. What were the Tories doing? Surely they should have won that one?
A meal for hubby's birthday at our favourite restaurant completely restored the good feelings of the morning - and no emissions to get there as we walked.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Be A Councillor

Stockton Council's efforts for Democracy week have centred on encouraging people to think about being a councillor. Word was sent out through various networks and the press and last night about 8 adults turned up to hear what is involved and to talk to political groups about what they do. Two teenagers came along also, interested in shadowing councillors to see more of their work.
Almost 3 hours was a long time, especially as the previous 2 hours had been in a hot stuffy room listening to a presentation on what residents think of the borough, but it was worthwhile because the people who turned up were genuinely interested.
There's a repeat on Saturday morning so if anyone thinks they'd like to attend do get in touch for the details. No commitment is being sought at this stage - it's all about finding out for yourself and getting your questions answered so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not to give it a try.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Grand Central not quite so grand

Sad to say, although it's wonderful that we have a train stopping at Eaglescliffe and going straight to London, it didn't quite live up to its claims on Saturday evening. The seat reservations had been duplicated so many people were in the position of finding that someone else also thought the seat was reserved for them. Fortunately the train wasn't full and so everyone got a seat but it wasn't very pleasant at the start of the journey.
The advertised Free Wifi didn't exist and there was nothing on the train to explain why. Having a lot to catch up on after being in Brussels and then leaving early for London that was a real inconvenience. Also no power point for the laptop despite having that advertised on the website. I was lucky to get a table as not every seat had one, let alone a Board game embedded in the surface. An email of complaint produced an apology and a statement that the Wifi etc should be fitted in a month. All I can say is it's a good job I've got more to do than pursue Trades Descriptions and other such matters.

Fairtrade Supporters Conference

It would take more space than there is here to describe all that happened yesterday, but I'll do my best to pick out the highlights.
On a very personal note, before even arriving at the conference, there was one of the best breakfasts I've had in a long time with lots of fresh fruit and decent coffee served by cheerful staff.
Arrival at the conference itself meant being greeted by friendly welcoming members of the Fairtrade Foundation team and being shown exactly where everything was and what to do.
The first session was a plenary discussion chaired by George Alagiah of the BBC, former patron of the foundation, between Douglas Alexander MP, Secretary of State for International development and Harriet Lamb, Executive Director, Fairtrade Foundation.
The theme of the day was Fairtrade in relation to sustainability and climate change.
George Alagiah pointed out in his introduction that aid is a relatively modern invention but trade is as old as mankind, obvious but often forgotten.
Douglas Alexander described being brought up in a family committed to Fairtrade, drinking Campaign coffee because it was the right thing, not because it tasted good, and now as a government minister being completely committed to promoting Fairtrade as part of the solution to dangerous climate change. He announced the government grant of £12m to the foundation as a sign of the commitment the DfID has to Fairtrade as part of the solution to poverty. His personal commitment was obvious and it was pleasing to see someone so obviously in the right job in government. I have never applauded a Government minister so enthusiastically.
Harriet Lamb talked of the time it takes to develop a product/group to Fairtrade certification. E.g. Zaytoun Olive oil took over 5 years. This kind of commitment needs a lot of investment. Much of the investment comes from the fees paid by producers for certification so the Fairtrade movement is self sustaining but larger investment needs large donors. She welcomed the announcement by the government of £12m grant to the Fairtrade Foundation which will allow much more of the development work to be done working with the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation.

In the course of the discussion examples of rules made in the developed world which make trade difficult and unfair for developing countries were given. The one that hit me hardest and which I wished I’d known about a few days earlier when at the European Parliament was that all bananas entering the EU have to be washed! Why??? Health and Safety apparently! As a result water that should be used for drinking is being used to wash the bananas.

After that came the presentation of awards. Groups from all over the country were recognised for their achievements in Fairtrade Fortnight. Interestingly, both the winner and the runner up in the Most Imaginative campaign category were in the North of England - Scarborough and Tees Valley. Our trip round the Tees Valley with a giant inflated banana had really impressed the judges. Shared Interest had contributed money to give cash prizes this year so we have a base on which to build next year's campaign.
The photo was taken by Moe Kafer.
Workshops on different subjects followed and I was pleased to find out that a group of producers in the DRC are working towards achieving Fairtrade certification for their coffee despite the dangerours political situation in that country.
During the afternoon plenary session I was made aware of something I didn't know was happening in this country (where have I been for the last few weeks?). ASDA has initiated a banana price war, cutting their price 6 times in 6 weeks. At 39p a kilo for loose bananas there's no way it's sustainable and someone is suffering. In the short term it's not the consumer who's saving money nor the shareholder who's getting profits from the increased footfall in the stores. The first people who suffer are the producers who are paid less and less. Thank God for Fairtrade which guarantees a fair price to the grower. But as Renwick Rose of the Windward Islands Farmers pointed out, even Fairtrade growers will suffer because the supermarkets that aren't committed to Fairtrade will just stop buying their produce. He had a revolutionary solution which won't be adopted - pay some of the increased profits back to the farmers who grow the bananas!
There was much more debate about sustainability and climate change but I'll close with the comment from Sophi Tranchell of Divine Chocolate: "It’s down to you. Everything you do and buy makes the world the way it is.” Do we want a world run entirely for the benefit of the few, destroying the lives of the many or will we make the necessary changes?
A Thank you presentation to George Alagiah for his support during 7 years as patron rounded off the plenary session, before we went off to taste wine and chocolate and ask all the burning questions that hadn't been answered in the day. A completely spontaneous standing ovation for George expressed everyone's heartfelt gratitude for all he's done. Tammy Stewart-Jones of Thanet Fairtrade group made the presentation on behalf of all campaigners, old and new.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Return to London

A fairly rapid turnround meant that just over 12 hours after arriving home I was on the way again, this time to receive a Fairtrade Award on behalf of Stockton Fairtrade Borough Partnership.
I took advantage of the evening spent in London to go to the theatre. An Inspector Calls is a play which I've long wanted to see so this was an ideal opportunity, especially as I could find a better deal on a decent hotel as part of a theatre break! It was an even better deal than originally expected because the first hotel I had booked had a problem with its computer and double booked the room. I was asked to move to a better quality hotel in the same chain. I agreed so had a deluxe king sized room in a 4 star hotel for the price of a basic single room in a 3 star - not a bad deal.

European Commission

The second day in Brussels included a visit to the European commission, housed in the kind of building that Brussels seems to do so well - preserved red brick frontage, saved from the convent which used to occupy the site, with a modern designed for the purpose building behind it.
The chapel next door is an ecumenical one, designed by and looked after by Christians but open to all to use. Cleverly arranged with a space for private prayer and quiet contemplative group worship in the crypt, a welcoming space on the ground floor, a traditional chapel on the next floor and meeting rooms above, it provides a welcome haven in the busy day of a European civil servant.
The Commission does a great deal of the day to day work of proposing legislation and enabling the negotiations which enable agreement to be reached. The briefing provided some very useful information to counteract some of the myths which are perpetrated.
After that it was time to board the coach and head to the station in time to catch the train back to London. Wide open spaces make building high speed rail links relatively easy and the result is that it's significantly quicker to get to Brussels from London than it is to get to Newcastle. Yet we have a government that dithers over investment in high speed links in this country and when it does decide to invest it chooses the North West rather than the North East to include!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Visit to European Parliament

This morning was free to do our own thing so for most of us that meant a walk or metro ride up to one or more of the tourist attractions in the centre and perhaps a bit of souvenir shopping.
I was intrigued to come upon a group playing music with tools such as hammers in one of the squares. It was part of a campaign calling for decent working conditions and was quite amazing.
The rain held off till after lunch and then there was time for a brief rest and freshen up before the coach took us to the European Parliament. A quick trip into the visitor centre allowed for the collection of lots of useful pamphlets and then it was time to go into the Parliament building itself. The external architecture of the Parliament and associated buildings is stunningly beautiful and unashamedly modern; the inside needs some work – little or no natural light or ventilation in huge areas of it. The stuffy atmosphere made it difficult to concentrate on a genuinely interesting talk on the Parliament. Following the briefing we were taken into the public gallery of the Parliament to watch part of the debate on the result of the Irish referendum.
It was interesting to hear Irish and French and Polish speakers emphasise that politicians across Europe need to start to tell the story of the Union properly and loudly – the benefits that come from membership to individual countries as well as the benefits that come to Europe as a whole. I’ve been saying for years that here in the UK we don’t tell the story well enough, we only seem to make a fuss about the bad aspects of the Union – the difficulties with the rules, the lack of co-operation between member states. It seems as though it’s not just in the UK that that’s true. Others were complaining too.
I look forward to seeing the Lib Dem leadership giving a real lead on being positive on Europe.

Off to Parliament

Not the Westminster one but the European one.
The train journey was uneventful except for the one person who hadn't thought of the need for a passport because we were just travelling within Europe! Miraculously he managed to get a train from Newcastle to Darlington, meet up with someone who'd kindly brought his passport over to Darlington, caught the next train from Darlington to Kings Cross and ran from Kings Cross to St Pancras to get on the Eurostar seconds before the doors closed! The security staff and others at St Pancras were superb, rushing him through just in time.
We arrived in Brussels right on time and walked round to the hotel to check in before walking up towards the centre for something to eat. A restaurant that was previously a cellar was the perfect setting to enjoy a meal and to introduce our friend to the joys of Trappist Beers. An excellent start to the visit.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Spending too much time visiting North Tees hospital at the moment to blog much. Sufficient to say that we had a good session this weekend with colleagues from across the borough planning activities for the next few months, the Tory conference sounds as though it's going to be as meaningful (not) as ever and the Labour one has faded into oblivion.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

For the first time in a long while I took an hour out to walk today with no other purpose than to enjoy it. From Municipal Buildings down to the riverside footpath, along to the Infinity Bridge and over to the south side of the river, along the much less used path to the Millennium Bridge and over into the town centre. It's interesting and a little sad that the part of the path which runs beside buildings full of staff doesn't get walked on enough to kill the weeds which sprout up between the paving blocks. We need to encourage the people working in those offices to get out and enjoy the riverside on that side -it's too nice to waste.
Just time to pick up some Christmas cards for Sunday's Fairtrade stall and then it was off to the Library for the Cabinet meeting. This doesn't usually give rise to much debate but I couldn't help pointing out the irony of cabinet congratulating itself on being ahead of the game on Carbon Reduction strategies while sitting under an overhead projector which was switched on in readiness for a presentation to be made an hour and a half later!
The biggies on tonight's agenda were the Business Case for Building Schools for the Future which went through with no real comment from cabinet despite it depending on being able to sell the land on which closing schools stand for housing development; the pressures on Social workers at present owing to the continuing increase in referrals of children suspected of being abused in one way or another - no easy answers there as there's no end in sight to the problem and no bottomless pit of money to pay the extra staff and hours needed; Billingham Town centre, delayed yet again; and the economic climate which is looking slightly more positive with B&M taking over the old Woolworths store, opening on 14th Oct, and a few other retailers showing a great interest in the town along with one or two companies taking on more staff.
The cabinet meeting was followed by an update on the NHS Momentum plans - all very positive and not really looking at the possibility of not getting the money to carry on with the new way of working. I suppose it wouldn't do to come along and admit that of course if the government pulls the plug on spending it won't go ahead!
I was pleased to hear that they're expecting to have as a condition of the planning permission for the new hospital that the community facilities in Hartlepool, Billingham, Stockton and Yarm have to be up and running first. That's the best bit of the whole proposal. A nice new hospital will be a bonus but if we all have to have cars to access a range of treatment and diagnosis we won't be happy. The community facilities will allow basic x-ray and ultrasound, some simple surgery, plastering, maternity and childcare, physio and other therapies which currently are in hospital. It can't come soon enough in my opinion and I look forward to it. Next Friday will be the special planning committee which will give Stockton's response to the plans in readiness for Hartlepool's meeting the following week to determine the application.

Are you a winner?

Colleges week is upon us, so says an email which popped into my inbox this week. Actually it's from 9th - 15th November but now's the time to get ready to enter a competition with lots of amazing prizes. If you're a student of any age, 16 - 116, you can put your creative talents to work and be in with a chance to shadow Sven-Goran Ericsson or chat with an astronaut or visit the set of Hollyoaks to name but 3.
The competition is designed to celebrate the amazing things that go on in our colleges and encourage students to have a go at being creative. All you have to do is submit a video entitled "I'm running the show", explaining in any way you like what you'd do if you were in charge. Details are to be found at the website. Worth a look if you're a student of any age.